Jersey adds new area code to replace 609

A 640 area code will be given to new phone lines in the old 609 territory. Existing numbers won't change.

A 609 area code has long been an easy way to spot a South Jersey caller. If you are proud of your 609, hold onto it, because they aren't making any more of them.

Starting next month, new phone lines in the 609 region — which is roughly from just above Trenton, southeast to Cape May, and about halfway up the coast — will get a new 640 area code. You 609ers can keep your old number, which makes you the last of a breed. 

That's the good news (if area-code boasting is a thing for you). The less good news is that you'll have to dial the area code everywhere now, even to people in the same 609 as you. (You 856 people in the western portion of South Jersey can keep dialing 7 numbers to other 856 numbers, but you'll need 10 digits to reach 609 Garden Staters from now on.)

Cell phones probably handle most of this seamlessly already, but check your kids' phones just in case. And if your 609 mom has you on speed dial from her landline, you'll have to update the number so that her call goes through.

The new dialing requirement went into effect last weekend, so if you get a call-can't-be-completed message for the pizza place you've called a 1,000 times before, it's probably because you need to add the area code. There are also new rules for when you have to dial 1. You can get all the details here.

The new 640 is needed because phone companies were running out of 609 numbers, as cell-phone ownership has spread to every member of the family old enough to launch an app. The result is that Jersey will now have 10 different area codes.

But 609 is special; it's original. If you have it, tell those newbies from the 640 that you'll take their call, but none of their guff, cause you were here first and your number proves. 


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